Game music of the (holi)day: Diddy Kong Racing

GR's ongoing tribute to the beloved world of videogame music

Game: Diddy Kong Racing

Song: Walrus Cove

Composer: David Wise


Above: Walrus Cove from Diddy Kong Racing

The second entry in our weeklong look at music from snow and ice levels comes from Diddy Kong Racing, a bizarre hybrid that combined the racing and power-ups of Mario Kart 64 with the exploration and level structure of Super Mario 64. As usual, David Wise (Rare's go-to music man) knocked out a memorable and fittingly goofy set of tunes for the game, including a couple of extremely Christmas-y songs you're about to hear.

While DKR was a racing game at its heart, there was still a hub world with sub-areas you had to unlock via winning races and beating bosses on their own tracks. Sounds more like a Mario-style platformer, eh? And where you've got platforming, you've got themed levels with similarly themed music. That brings us to Walrus Cove, which plays as you race through a village that's draped in Christmas lights and a fresh blanket of snow. So very festive!


Above: Then there's Everfrost Peak, which plays during another snow level, but isn't overtly Christmas-like


Above: Pirate Lagoon, a great example of how unrepentingly silly DKR's music can be


Above: GAH! What manner of compact disc witchery is this?

Oh yeah, the DKR CD... well that's an interesting story. Prior to the N64 era (1996-2001), Nintendo of America wasn't keen on releasing game soundtracks. And with good reason! Why would we want to buy any of their classic, undying pieces of musical magnificence when we can just eat shit and die instead? Thankfully, NOA got past this line of thinking right as the N64 came around, so we got several official soundtracks. Most were run of the mill releases, but Diddy Kong Racing and Yoshi's Story came on these weird-ass CDs shaped like heads, which, because of their odd configuration, would not play in car CD players or anything without a spool-type fastener.

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo avoided this idea in the future. It still plays totally fine to this day, and will work in any laptop or player device that it can snap into, but wow... just wow. That's got to be the ugliest CD in existence.

Game music of the day: Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Ice Cap Zone by Brooks, Buxer, Senoue and (maybe) Michael Jackson

Game music of the day: Banjo Kazooie
Spiral Mountain by Grant Kirkhope


Silence by Ishida and Kametani

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